Chef's Recipes

Slow-baked quince with saffron custard

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for slow-baked quince with saffron custard by Mike McEnearney.

By Mike McEnearney
  • 25 mins preparation
  • 12 hrs 30 mins cooking
  • Serves 8
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Slow-baked quince with saffron custard
“Dark quinces, green pistachios, yellow custard – spectacular. It’s like you’re in Provence.” You’ll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.


  • 8 quince, unpeeled
  • 750 gm caster sugar
  • 3 cinnamon quills, coarsely broken
  • 3 each star anise and cloves
  • 2 vanilla beans, split, seeds scraped
  • 2 white peppercorns
  • To serve: coarsely chopped pistachios
Saffron custard
  • 200 ml double cream
  • ½ tsp saffron threads
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 40 gm caster sugar
  • 1¼ tsp cornflour
  • Pinch of finely grated nutmeg, or to taste


  • 1
    Peel and halve quince, remove cores (reserve skin and cores) and place in acidulated water until required.
  • 2
    Combine reserved peel and cores with sugar, spices and 2 litres water in a large saucepan, stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, cook until ruby-coloured and infused (25-30 minutes), then strain (reserve syrup and solids separately).
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 80C or lowest setting. Place quince in a deep roasting pan large enough to fit snugly in a single layer, then cover closely with a layer of muslin or baking paper. Pour over syrup, spread reserved skins and cores over the top, cover with a double layer of foil and roast until tender and rosy in colour (10-12 hours). Remove and discard foil, skin, cores and muslin.
  • 4
    For saffron custard, bring cream and saffron to the simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, whisk yolks, sugar and cornflour in a bowl to combine. Add cream mixture, whisk to combine, then return to pan and stir continuously over low heat until mixture thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon (2-3 minutes). Strain into a bowl over ice, add nutmeg to taste and whisk occasionally until chilled. Serve with slow-baked quince and a little syrup, scattered with pistachios.


This recipe is from the July 2011 issue of .

  • undefined: Mike McEnearney